Whatever happened to ‘let’s hear it for the girls’?! Recent research by London Business School has highlighted women’s lack of natural flair for networking . Perhaps more crushing, for those that consider themselves to be digital savvy – it seems that they are also missing out on the wealth of opportunities for social networking.
It seems it is not the social side that is causing the problem – many women have a large group of friends that they can regular call on at all hours of the day when they are in a bind, but we are the weaker sex at maximising the networking side of our social network – for business purposes.
With this in mind, listed below are five handy hints for us ladies, on what we should be doing to maximise our social networking prowess – it’s not rocket science, but it does take a bit of confidence:
- Sometimes it is the blurring of lines between the social and the business that makes us weary of taking a big step towards online networking…so perhaps decide which networks you want to use for business purposes and which you want to reserve for your social contacts – for example you might focus on Twitter and LinkedIn for business and reserve Facebook for catching up with friends.
- Make full use of Twitter and LinkedIn to catch up with old work mates – if you are not still in regular contact now, it can be the easiest way to find out what they are doing. Their career might have taken a new turn or they could be working within a company that is particularly relevant to yours, use the opportunity to re-instate a mutual business connection.
- Engage with people – if used properly, social networking should not just be about linking up with people you already know, it should be about extending your networks. On Twitter, seek out the experts within your sector and try and engage with them – respond to their queries with your point of view. It may take a while to establish a connection, but demonstrating your professional credentials and providing interesting insight can help this along…
- Be proactive – create your own group on LinkedIn. That is not to say you should do it for the sake of doing it, but have a browse around the groups and see if there are any gaps that might enable to you to communicate with like-minded individuals. If you don’t quite have the confidence to create your own group, you should be actively contributing to the groups that are particularly relevant to your business. Sharing advice and seeking advice from others is the best way to build up business relationships.
- Once you have started to make some contacts online, have the confidence to ask them to meet in person for a coffee. This gives you the opportunity to put a face to the name and turn your virtual relationship into a real life connection…
Online business networking can take the difficult part out of face to face networking – when you finally meet up you already know a bit about your contact and so conversation and information sharing should flow more easily. Its networking, the easy way! And apparently us ladies need some assistance with that….
(This post will also be made available in the ‘Guides’ section).